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The Energy Catalyzer (e-Cat) is a purported cold fusion reactor that is claimed to work by adding hydrogen to nickel to make copper, a reaction so ridiculously unfeasible it doesn't even happen in supernova explosions.
It was created by two Italians, Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi They claim that their 400W input creates 12,400W of output heat. In other words, a 31:1 ratio. Subsequent experiments which took Internet criticism into account produced less and less output.
Their claims raise a number of red flags, starting with the fact that they chose to announce their discovery at a press conference without publishing anything in peer reviewed journals. They tried to get published, but were rejected by serious journals. Their initial patent application was rejected.
Rossi's 2011 demonstrations showed neither measurable gamma nor neutron radiation and there is no proof for the creation of non-natural isotope ratios in the alleged fusion products. Independent tests which might have proven a fusion process have so far failed.
Rossi claimed a 1 MW plant would be in operation by October 2011. His October 28th test put out 470kW! … though the "starter" generator attached to the device (throughout the test) looked to observers — even supporters — rather like it could generate about 500kW.
In May 2013, a study was uploaded to arXiv which seemed to show evidence that the E-Cat works. However, the study is riddled with terrible science and uncritical analysis of the claims made by Rossi. The most glaring of which is how the latest study has done nothing to explain away the evidence of fraud from the prior test. In 2011, the reaction products produced by the E-Cat were examined and it was found that the ratios were beyond the scope of possibility.
A February 2015 attempt to replicate the e-Cat heated to 1000°C and went bang, though likely due to the gaseous hydrogen and (pyrophoric) lithium aluminium hydride (LiAlH4) present.
Rossi holds a laurea (a final degree at an Italian University with an obligatory doctorate) in philosophy from the University of Milan. Rossi claims a second laurea title in "Ingegneria Chimica" (chemical engineering) at Kensington University in California, a known diploma mill which was shut down by court order in 2003.
- Focardi-Rossi Energy-Catalyzer a very extensive article at Psiram
- Energy Catalyzer article at Wikipedia
- Episode #289 of the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe
- Cold Fusion Claims, thread at the JREF Forum
- Starts With a Bang! The E-Cat is back, and people are still falling for it! by Ethan Siegel (May 21, 2013) ScienceBlogs
- Directory:Andrea A. Rossi Cold Fusion Generator at PESWiki
- More Cold Fusion, Steven Novella, NeuroLogica Blog, 21 January 2011
- International patent application PCT/IT2008/000532
- Report on heat production during preliminary tests on the Rossi "Ni-H" reactor by Giuseppe Levi
- Believing in Cold Fusion and the E-Cat by Mark Gibbs (Oct 30, 2011 @ 03:18 PM) Forbes.
- Starts With a Bang! The Physics of why the e-Cat’s Cold Fusion Claims Collapse by Ethan Siegel (December 5, 2011) ScienceBlogs
- Cold fusion E-Cat experiment ends explosively by David Hambling (06 Feb 2015) Wired.
- Confirmation of degree letter from Università degli Studi di Milano, 14 Feb 2011 Archived copy from March 4, 2014.
- Court order by the State of Hawaii against Kensington University Inc.
- Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World—Or Just Scam It? Rossi—a lone Italian inventor with no real credentials and a history as a convicted scam artist—has convinced a small army of researchers that his box can harness a new type of nuclear reaction. What if they're right? by Steve Featherstone (October 23, 2012) Popular Science.